Online reviews are an unavoidable part of doing business in today’s digital age.
Every marketer worth their salt knows that online reputation is everything.
Whether you own or manage a small mom-and-pop restaurant, a computer software company, or a chain of coffee shops, your customers are likely to look for you online.
That means one of the first things they’ll do is look for online reviews about your business.
Of course, positive reviews help you to create a trusted brand, which people are more likely to purchase from. However, how you respond to negative reviews also says much about your business.
Why Online Reviews Are So Powerful
Yelp, Google Business Profile, TripAdvisor, and similar are a boon for consumers, giving them a platform to learn about businesses before patronizing them.
For business owners? Not so much.
It seems that no matter how hard you try, you’re bound to get that one bad review that could potentially overshadow all your glowing reviews.
Online reviews, however, are an unavoidable part of doing business online.
For millennials, reviews are empowering, helping them make an informed and thought-out purchase decision (useful when deciding if a restaurant’s $15 avocado toast is worth it).
If you still aren’t completely on board, here are online review statistics that may change your mind.
1. Positive & Negative Reviews Influence Consumers
According to a 2021 report by PowerReviews, over 99.9% of customers read reviews when they shop online.
Furthermore, 96% of customers look for negative reviews specifically. This figure was 85% back in 2018.
When people look for bad reviews, they’re interested in knowing some of the company’s weaknesses. Where could they improve? If the downfalls are minor, it makes the researcher feel assured.
A near-perfect rating is often viewed as less credible and leads to consumer skepticism if reviews are too positive.
2. Consumers Trust Reviews Like Recommendations From Loved Ones
BrightLocal’s local consumer survey shows that 49% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family members.
When you consider just how much we trust the people we love, it’s compelling to think that every 1 in 2 people trust online reviews as much.
However, the research reveals that some occasions cause consumers to suspect a review’s validity. So, you do need to be mindful of this.
Situations that can raise suspicion that a review may be fake include:
- The review is overboard in its praise (45%)
- The review is one of many reviews with similar content (40%)
- The reviewer uses a common pseudonym or is anonymous (38%)
- The review is overboard in negativity (36%)
- The review is one of only a few positive amongst many negative reviews (32%)
- The review contains hardly any text and is just a star rating (31%)
3. The More Reviews, The Better Reputation
BrightLocal’s research also found that 60% of consumers feel that the number of reviews a business has is critical when reviewing and deciding whether to use its services.
Although this has dropped since 2020, it’s still a high figure, especially compared to 2019, 2018, and 2017.
4. Most Consumers Don’t Trust Advertising
While online reviews are seeing a rise in consumer trust, the same can’t be said for traditional advertising.
According to Performance Marketing World, 84% of millennials don’t trust conventional advertising.
If anything, this finding is a sign of the times. People are tired of ads being pushed on their faces, especially ads that belie the truth of the quality of the products and services they get from brands.
5. Shoppers Research Product Reviews On Their Phones – Outside Of Your Store
OuterBox recently revealed that every 8 in 10 shoppers use their smartphones to look up product reviews while they are in-store.
Before buying an item, shoppers will quickly search to see what other people have had to say about the product in question.
Some will compare prices, determining whether they can find the item elsewhere cheaper.
This statistic shows how the online and offline worlds are becoming increasingly integrated. If you don’t have a good online review presence, it can have a negative impact on the number of sales you make in-store.
6. Reviews Shared On Twitter Increase Social Commerce
Yotpo has revealed that reviews on social media platforms increase social commerce, especially on Twitter.
When we think of social media, we associate it with building brand awareness. However, it’s also effective for driving sales.
Shopify recently published a survey that revealed the average conversion rate for the social media websites represented in the graph above:
- The average conversion rate for LinkedIn is 0.47%
- The average conversion rate for Twitter is 0.77%
- The average conversion rate for Facebook is 1.85%
Yotpo Data found that when reviews are shared on social platforms, the conversion rate is 5.3 times higher for LinkedIn, 8.4 times higher for Twitter, and 40 times higher for Facebook.
All these statistics show us that reviews are an incredibly powerful form of social proof that results in higher conversion levels across LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
Furthermore, a lot of the eCommerce world is underestimating Twitter’s force.
7. Reviews Are Just As Important Among Jobseekers
If you thought consumers were the only ones concerned about reviews, think again.
Research published by Glassdoor indicates that 86% of employees and job seekers research reviews on a business and ratings to determine whether they should apply for a job.
As competition for talent in certain industries gets tougher, companies will have no choice but to be more conscious about their employer brand if they wish to attract top talent.
8. 3.3 Stars Is The Minimum Rating Customers Accept
When deciding whether to engage with a business, it has been indicated that 3.3 stars out of 5 are the lowest rating customers are likely to consider.
If you have a lower rating than this, your business may be overlooked and lose valuable consumers to the competition.
It probably does not come as a shock to discover that only 13% of consumers will contemplate using a company with a rating of 2 stars or less.
9. Sustainability Is A Recurring Theme In Travel Reviews
The Expedia.com Travel Recovery Trend Report revealed that the environment and sustainability are two chief themes for online guest reviews.
Some of the terms most typically found in reviews include the following:
- Renewable energy
- LED light bulbs
- Electric car charging
- Single-use plastics
Expedia believes that millennial and Gen-Z travelers are more likely to consider environmentally friendly travel options.